Sam went to the University of Central Lancashire and is a second year graduate at DHL. We caught up with Sam to learn more about his graduate scheme and his top tips for Bright Network members.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Sam Tomkins from Buckinghamshire and I’m a second year graduate at DHL. I went to the University of Central Lancashire and worked for a year at SAP after graduation before DHL. I’m passionate about sports and enjoy going to the gym.
What is your role and how long have you been at DHL?
I have been at DHL for 2 years. I spent my first year working at Euston Station as an Operations Controller with Virgin Trains as the customer. I’m currently at the end of my second year in Swindon working in Operations and Projects with M&S as the customer.
What first inspired you to apply for a role with DHL?
I looked at a number of graduate schemes and the DHL one stood out to me because it entailed roles that were varied and challenging. The scheme offered a number of appealing modules which provided good development opportunities and I was keen to work in a fast-paced, rapidly changing environment. DHL is also such a large company, meaning there are a variety of sectors and roles to get exposure to.
Tell us the top three skills you have learnt during your time at DHL and why you need them in your role
- Emotional Intelligence – This is has been essential within my management roles because I required the ability to understand my emotions and the emotions of others. I developed the ability to see things from other people’s perspectives to fully understand issues/challenges.
- Communication – A skill that I have enhanced throughout the scheme which is of paramount importance to effectively manage an operation. I have learnt to tailor my communication style to the colleagues needs, explain things clearly and I have become a better listener.
- Creativity – I have learnt to think outside the box to come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. This is a key skill within Operations and Continuous Improvement because thinking in a non-traditional way helps to see things from another angle and find solutions.
What kind of training have you received? How has this helped your professional development?
I have received a combination of ‘on the job’, ‘off the job’ and ‘E-Learning’ training throughout my grad scheme. Predominantly training away from my site in a classroom setting focussing on one topic. This has helped my development in a number of areas, such as: project management and presentation skills. I have become more confident in a number of areas and could bring the skills I learnt into my day to day role. I also have a mentor who helps guide me into a future leader role and assists with my development plan.
What excites you about the work you are doing?
The variety in the roles that I have done so far. I have experienced working at a number of different sites within each year and met a large number of great people along the way.
I am passionate about CSR and worked on a project that increased the awareness and engagement of GoTeach across all DHL UK&Ireland employees. This meant more colleagues had the opportunity to go into schools and help children with mentoring/CV workshops. Having the opportunity to really make a difference in children’s lives has been the highlight.
Being the engagement champion for my site is exciting as I get to plan events for the colleagues and make work more fun and rewarding for them. For example we recently organised a BBQ and Ice cream day and team morale was through the roof!
What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?
Digitalisation. The world is moving at such a rapid pace, with drones, robotics, 3D Printing, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. I find this extremely interesting as we have trialled all of the above and I believe they will all play an important role in the future of logistics.
What is the company culture like?
With DHL being so large the company culture is very varied as there a number of different demographics within the workforce. Generally the culture is welcoming and inclusive of everyone. I have enjoyed working with people of different nationalities, religions and demographics overall.
How has this role and the experiences you’ve gained set you up for future career progression and success?
I have had exposure to a number of crucial elements that have set me up for success. These include financial experience, project management, performance management, planning, continuous improvement, exposure to the customer and many more. I feel that I have built some strong management and leadership skills alongside some valuable experience.
I know where I want to be in the next 5 years, so my manager’s helped me put together a development plan that reverse engineered all the skills and experience required to progress and I am ticking them off one at a time.
Has anything surprised you since you started at DHL?
The fact that the opportunities are really endless here due the size of the business. You can move into a different sector of even country!
Finally, any tips for members wanting to apply to DHL?
Research key future trends in logistics and think about people management skills as the people are the most important asset we have at DHL.
I would recommend reading:
Dale Carnegie – How To Win Friends And Influence People &
Daniel Coleman – Working With Emotional Intelligence
Looking to follow in Sam's footsteps? Discover live graduate opportunities with DHL.